First things first, what is tone of voice?
Tone of voice is not what we say, it’s how we say it. It’s the personality we add to our message through our choice of words and the style we use. It’s essential in any form of communication — especially online, where we can’t use non-verbal cues such as body language.
Here are our four golden rules for finding the right tone of voice for your brand.
Don’t try to imitate anyone else. Your brand has a unique personality, which is what makes it stand out. How would you define that personality? A simple list of adjectives can be a good starting point (e.g. friendly, reassuring, approachable, knowledgeable).
Know your audience
Think about who you are speaking to, and what sort of tone they will respond to best. There are lots of ways to get to know your customers, even if you only sell online (through data analysis, surveys, reviews or social media, for example).
Once you have found your brand’s tone of voice, stick to it! Every word you write should speak your brand language — whether it’s in a tweet, a brochure, a product description, a customer email or anything else.
Spread the word
Last but definitely not least, create a tone of voice guide and save it somewhere easily accessible, such as the company intranet. Clear, comprehensive guidelines are the only way to make sure that everyone writing for your brand uses the same style.
Who has the right idea?
Some brands know their tone of voice and use it consistently and effectively across all of their communications. We are biased, but some great examples we have found are the flavours giant Givaudan, luxury watchmaker IWC and automaker Mercedes-Benz. Their website, social media and press releases all capture the right tone, and you can feel their message in all the mediums. They are doing it right. So should you.
What is your best practice in using your tone of voice? Let us know.